Empowering Employees Through UKG Pro WFM Employee Self-Service

woman scheduling on phone

The pursuit of employee well-being and work-life balance is a commonly held practice among companies regardless of size and industry in today’s workforce. What you may not know, however, is that one man cared deeply for his employees long before there was a term for it. George Eastman founded the iconic Eastman Kodak Company in the late 1800s and is recognized as a visionary leader, gifting employees with a substantial amount of his own money, as well as establishing many benefit programs. Eastman’s belief that the success of companies depends largely on the loyalty and dedication of employees rings true to this day. 

Moses Lake Community Health Center (MLCHC) is a healthcare organization harnessing UKG’s technology to drive engagement, happiness, and loyalty among its employees. Located in central Washington, MLCHC serves as a non-profit with four clinics dedicated to providing high quality, compassionate, and comprehensive primary health services for the entire family, with a special focus on underserved and migrant farmworkers. MLCHC went live with UKG Pro Workforce Management (WFM) in 2019. Last summer, their journey with UKG came full circle with the rollout of Employee Self-Service (ESS), Basic and Advanced Scheduler functionality that allows employees to request schedule changes in either the mobile or desktop application.  

MLCHC’s Payroll and Application Specialist, Rachel Hansen, implemented ESS. Following the hugely successful rollout and adoption, Hansen joined an esteemed group of customers who won the Innovation Award at Aspire, UKG’s largest customer conference, last year in Las Vegas. For this edition of Working Smarter Café, Hansen shared tips on using ESS to increase employee satisfaction, potentially reduce turnover, and even drive focus on patient care. 

Empowering Employees and Saving Time – Shift Swaps and Coverage Requests 

When Hansen deployed ESS, she started off small, only rolling out a few features to MLCHC’s approximately 80 nurses and medical assistants and 30 providers including shift swaps. But these small changes made a big impact right away. “It was like 100% adoption within the first month,” she said. If they’re unable to work a shift, an employee can find someone to cover for them and conveniently make that swap in the scheduler. ESS also empowers employees to offer their shifts to colleagues through coverage requests. Once an employee submits a coverage request, their shift becomes available on the schedule. Until it’s picked up by someone else, the shift technically remains on the schedule of the original assignee. 

Hansen says tools like ESS help MLCHC attract and retain employees. “It keeps us competitive with other places, she explained. “We've got a lot of clinics and hospitals, so we really have to be implementing these tools and pushing these tools for employees to use or they could 100% go somewhere else that is going to offer them what they need.” 

Hansen set limitations in the system, permitting swaps and coverage requests to only take place between employees with the same credentials and working at the same location. If desired, swaps and coverage requests may be configured to require the approval of a manager or administrator. 

In addition to benefiting employees, the usage of shift swaps and coverage requests has also proven to be a major time saver for MLCHC’s Medical Staffing Coordinator, Stacee Villarreal. She says ESS has greatly improved her productivity and efficiency. “Employees have more access and control of their schedules, all while helping me keep up with the demand of updating their schedules,” she explained. “I used to focus so much time on swapping shifts manually that it would take up to half a day to process them. With this function, it now only takes me half an hour or less.” Villareal uses the extra time saved on scheduling to focus on other duties in the clinic and build accurate schedules further in advance. 

Easily Building the Best Schedules – Open Shifts 

At MLCHC, ESS also has transformed the creation of rotation schedules for the evening and weekend shifts. Previously, Villarreal, manually assigned these shifts only to have to later deal with the frustration of last-minute schedule changes. Now, she simply posts a blank schedule three to six months in advance for staff and providers to pick up shifts, leading to a more efficient build process. MLCHC requires its employees to work a certain number of evening and weekend shifts. With ESS, employees can pick up these shifts on their own terms and if they don’t, Villarreal assigns them. 

“They’re happier with it [the schedule] because they're getting to choose when they're working and everything is getting covered, but they're not being forced into it,” Hansen said. “There's way less change happening later on because they were the ones that chose it in the first place.” Director of Nursing Services, Audree McPherson, agreed, saying ESS allows for work-life balance. “ESS gives staff the ability to make decisions about their schedule that they didn’t have prior,” she explained. “ESS allows staff to feel more in control of their schedule which will help to improve morale amongst the team.”

Focusing on What Really Matters through Employee Self-Service  

Aside from employees and administrators, nurse and clinic managers also reap the benefits of ESS, as they’re no longer serving as the middlemen in updating schedules. In the past, managers fielded numerous schedule change requests from their employees, leading them toward tedious administrative tasks and away from patient care. With ESS, employees can swap, pick up, and offer up shifts themselves. So, instead of working on a schedule change with the administrator, managers can now dedicate more time to their patients. “Our focus is the underserved and migrant farm workers of our community,” Hansen said. “Our entire mission as a clinic is to help others and if you are focused on administrative behind the scenes tasks, you are not giving your absolute best to our patients. It really does come down to your focus, the priority, and at our clinic, our priority is always, always going to be our patients.” 

ESS Resources

For more information on ESS, visit the following resources in the UKG Community™:

Certain ESS functionality offered with Advanced Scheduler is not available in Basic Scheduler. Please reach out to your sales executive or executive relationship manager (ERM) with any questions. 

*If you're not logged in to the UKG Community, you'll be asked to enter your credentials when accessing the link(s).